Thursday, 1 December 2016

The thing about being born in a stable is you live with an open door policy

(OK, a disclaimer. I know that it's tradition rather than text that tells us Jesus was born in a stable. The text of Luke may suggest he was born at the animal end of someone's house, as there was no guest room available. On this occasion, the tradition is helpful....)
Have you ever worked into a room and left the door open, to which someone has called out, "We're you born in a barn?" Whenever I hear this, I think of the traditional nativity scene, in the stable. It makes me think, well, being born in a barn, or stable, turned out OK for Jesus...
In fact, the whole idea really got me thinking. When Jesus grew up, he was radically inclusive. He moved in some colourful circles. Tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, foreigners, women, children - he welcomed them all,  he included them all, he hung out with them all, he ate with them all. Eating with someone was a social statement.
In fact, it seems to me that Jesus never rejected anyone.  He challenged people with the invitation to the radically alternative, upside down and inside out way of living that is the reign of God. Some people couldn't accept it. Even still, I think Jesus accepted people. And sometimes, His heart broke, with theirs, as they walked away. I think of the rich young man, who couldn't re-order his life God's way, because he was too invested in his wealth.
It seems to me that Jesus had an open door policy.  He welcomed all comers. In fact,the open door is consonant with God's kingdom. In the closing chapters of the New Testament, in Revelation, John has this vision from Jesus culminating with the future city of God, with God's full and unshrouded presence at its heart. Of the city, John writes, "It's gates will never be shut by day - and there will be no night there" (Revelation 21:25). That means the gate never shuts. Ever. So maybe there's always a chance to come in? I think, with Jesus, his door is always open, because, yes, they say, he was born in a barn.

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